Tag Archives: Onions

Salsa The Spice Of Summer


Salsa {This is a good basic Salsa}
Prep Time: About 20 minutes
Recipe Yield about 4 cups (2 pints)
Ingredients
4 or 5 large tomatoes, de-seeded and chopped
1 strong yellow onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
3 to 5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or {1 Tablespoon dried}
1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 tomatillo, diced (optional) {Best roasted}
salt to taste
2 – medium or 1 large size mild green Chili peppers de-seeded and course chopped
1 or 2 green or red jalapeno peppers, minced {de-seed and de-vane peppers for pepper flavor and less heat from the peppers}(Use 1 pepper, taste Salsa, adjust salt and pepper to your taste.)

Directions
In a food processor or blender, combine tomatoes, onion, cilantro, garlic, oregano, lime juice, vinegar, tomatillo, hot pepper, mild chili pepper(s), salt to taste. Chop /blend a scant 20 or 30 seconds.
In a non-aluminum pan, over medium heat, warm until Salsa reaches 165 to 180 degrees. {Use meat thermometer to check temperature} Pack into (2) hot sterilized pint jars, Seal tightly, when cool, this may take several hours, refrigerate Salsa. Salsa will keep safely under refrigeration for 1 or 2 months.
For longer storage, process Salsa for 20 minutes in a boiling water bath. Cool over night, check to insure jars sealed properly. Store in a cool dark place. Salsa will safely keep 1 or more years.

Nutritional Information open nutritional information.
Calories: 53
Total Fat: 0.5g
Cholesterol: 0mg
Sodium: 13mg
Total Carbs: 11.7g
Dietary Fiber: 3.1g
Protein: 2.3g

Avocado Feta cheese Dip
A chunky, savory summer dip that tastes great with tortilla or corn chips or as a topping for corn or flour tacos.
Prep Time: About 20 Minutes
Recipe Yields about 12 servings
Ingredients

2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1 ripe avocado – peeled, pitted and chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon snipped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano or {1/2 Tablespoon dried}
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar {replace with fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice}
4 ounces crumbled feta cheese or {Diced / Grated cheese that you like}
(1 de-seeded finely chopped green or red hot pepper to add more spice to your life)

Directions:
In a bowl, gently stir together avocado, pepper, onion, and garlic. Mix in tomatoes, parsley and oregano. Gently stir in olive oil and vinegar. Then stir in feta {cheese of your choice}. Cover with plastic wrap. Best served chilled for 2 hours.

Nutritional Information
Servings Per Recipe: 12
Calories: 66
Total Fat: 5.6g
Cholesterol: 8mg
Sodium: 108mg
Total Carbs: 2.8g
Dietary Fiber: 1.3g
Protein: 1.8g

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10 Easy to grow garden crops

The Old Farmers Almanac Has a lot of Useful as well as fun information for farmers and Gardeners no matter how big or small your farm / garden or your age.

Mother Earth News What mother earth news about says the 10 Best Garden Crops for Beginners.

If you’re a beginner, consider starting with the 10 crops discussed below. All are easy to grow, and this combination offers lots of possibilities for cooking. Some of these crops are best grown by setting out started seedlings, but most are easy to grow from a packet of seed planted directly in your garden soil.

1. Radishes. Radishes do well even in not so great garden soil and are ready to harvest in only a few weeks(3-5). Plant the seeds anytime the air temperatures remain above freezing.

2. Salad greens (beet and turnip tops, lettuce, spinach, arugula and corn salad). Pick your favorite, or try a mix. Many companies sell mixed packets for summer and winter gardening. Plant the seeds in spring and fall, and you can pick salads almost year round.

3. Green beans. Easy to grow and prolific. If you get a big crop, they freeze well, and they’re also delicious when pickled with dill as dilly beans. Start with seeds after all danger of frost has passed.

4. Onions. Start with small plants, and if they do well, you can harvest bulb onions. If not, you can always eat the greens.

5. Strawberries. Perfectly ripe strawberries are unbelievably sweet, and the plants are surprisingly hardy. Buy bare root plants in early spring. Put this perennial in a sunny spot and keep it well watered and weed free.

6. Peppers. Both hot peppers and bell peppers are easy to grow. Start with plants and let peppers from the same plant ripen for different lengths of time to get a range of colors and flavors.

7. Bush zucchini. This squash won’t take up as much room in your garden as many other types, and it’s very prolific. Start from seeds or transplants. You won’t need more than a few plants for a bumper crop.

8. Tomatoes. There’s just no substitute for a perfectly ripe homegrown tomato, and it’s hard to go wrong when you start with strong plants. If you get a big crop, consider canning or freezing your excess tomato’s.

9. Basil. Many herbs are easy to grow, but basil is a good choice because it’s a nice complement to tomatoes or any tomato dish. Basil is easy to grow from seeds or from transplants.

10. Potatoes. An easy-to-grow staple that stores well when kept cool. A simple and low maintenance approach is to plant potatoes in straw rather than soil. ‘Seeds’ are whole or cut sections of potatoes, sold in early spring.

Lifehacker has a lot of good useful information for the novice gardener, even if some of it is a bit on the wacky side of gardening.

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Mama And Doctors

Eat Your Vegetables – Mama Said and Mama was right ‘again’.

Some vegetables, flavors intensify as the plant matures, which is why the so called baby versions have a wide taste appeal with just as many health benefits.
Experiment with baby artichokes, beans, beets, cucumbers(2-4 inches long), okra(small is better), peppers, turnips and squashes(4-5 inches long) and carrots (the ones sold in bunches, with greens still attached not those sold in plastic bags, which are simply regular carrots, trimmed down.

You can find the babies at larger supermarkets, specialty grocers, and farmers’ markets such as younger brussels sprouts, can even be bought frozen. Not only do many people find baby vegetables more flavorful and less bitter, but they prefer the texture, too. Young vegetables are tender and require less cooking time.

Brussels sprout salad:
Slice vert thin, add a small amount of vinegarette dressing, toss well and let set for 20-30 minutes. Toss again to coat sprouts with dressing and add a few roasted pine nuts just before serving.

Oil them up judiciously using fats especially heart healthy ones like olive oil can go far in helping you love your veggies. When fat binds with seasonings and spices, it can transform vegetables from a duty diet item to something downright yummy. The link between vegetable avoidance and certain cancers is strong enough to justify a few oil added calories.

Raw veggies probably aren’t the first thing you crave when a snack attack strikes, but you’ll be much more tempted to eat them when they’re dunked in hummus, low fat dip, or your favorite salad dressing. Try munching at work, in front of the TV or when surfing the internet. Snacking on veggies away from the dinner table makes eating them feel like less of a health chore.

The poor lonely onion family, which includes leeks, shallots, and garlic, is rich in compounds suspected to fight cancer, says nutritionist Valerie Green, MPH. But for onion haters, the sharp flavors and strong smells can be almost nauseating. Try slow roasting plants in the onion family, which brings out the sweetness and cuts the sharpness. Brush leeks, shallots, garlic or thick sliced onions with a little olive oil(or ‘real’ butter) wrap in foil packets, and toss on the grill to mild down take the sting.

Tomato’s little secret is making sure you buy those that are vine ripened which eliminates almost all the bitter flavors, says Autar Mattoo, PhD, a molecular biologist with the USDA.

Over mature eggplants are bitter, but the size of this fiber and potassium packed vegetable isn’t your best clue. If your thumb leaves an indent that doesn’t bounce back, the eggplant will be spongy, tough, and bad tasting, even if it’s a little one. To further improve taste, check out its “belly button” at the blossom end, eggplants have either an oval or round dimple. Buy only the ovals.

To reduce eggplant’s bitter tendencies even more, after you slice it, sprinkle it with salt, then wait about half hour, rinse, pat dry and proceed with your recipe. Salt draws out water which contains the bitter tasting compounds.
Eggplants are worth the trouble. The insides of these veggies are high in polyphenols the same chemicals that make apples so good for you.

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Town & Country – Farm & Ranch Stores

I reside in USDA zone 7. My last average last frost date is about the 10th of April.
Armed with that trivial information and my nifty little computer generated calender, I have determined that it’s only 61 days until it’s relative safe to plant frost sensitive vegetables.

Fruit trees are breaking bud and will be in full bloom in a week or so. Ornamental shrubs, trees and spring flowering plants will soon burst into full bloom.

Guess what gang. Stores that sell things like vegetable seed and seedlings, things like tomato’s, peppers, onion sets, potato sets are putting out displays of nice looking seedlings for gardeners that don’t have a clue about last frost dates and those that truly believe that because we have had a week of frost free weather, winter has come to an end.

Gardeners thinking with their eyes and an over whelming desire to plant this years vegetable garden will invest a lot of money in seed and seedlings. In a week or so weather will return to it’s normal temperatures, seed will fail to germinate because the soil is to cool for most seed to germinate and seedlings will be killed when temperatures fall below 32%(0% C) for several hours or even several days.

Don’t fall for mother natures winter tricks.

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USDA Hardness Zone 6 & 7, Up Coming Projects

Only 40 more days of Winter ‘with luck’ , Equinox (Spring) arrives on my Tiny Farm Saturday, March 19, 2016 at 11:30 PM CDT. My last average Frost date is April 10th.
As of this morning my 2 inch and 4 inch soil temperatures were 45F and 46F. That is the signal that I can soon safely start putting out Garlic and Onion sets. Start planting Lettuce, Peas, Radish, Turnips, Spinach and Beet seed can be planted.

If the air temperature gets warm enough I will venture out into the garden and finish fall clean up. I still have plant litter to burn and some materials to be put on the compost pile. Gas up the tiller and ready seed beds for planting this springs vegetable crops.

As a side note, I discovered 4 potato’s sprouting in my potato bin. My soil is not well suited for growing potato’s but I do have four 6 gallon buckets that will be recycled and used as potato growing containers this year.
I know Master Gardeners say “don’t plant sprouting supermarket potato’s.” However it’s either plant them or they will be chicken food!
Smiling, hard to find anything better than fresh new potato’s to compliment a mess of fresh picked peas or beans.

Projects that may not be on your radar.
Zone 6
* Sow seeds in starter pots for Spring planting.
* Prune fruit/nut trees, grape vines, rose bushes and berry patches to remove winter damage.
* Feed cool-season lawns.
** If you use a preeminence lawn treatment to prevent weed seed from germinating February is a good time to make that treatment. Carefully follow package instruction for proper application.
* Removing winter mulch and lightly cultivating soil.
* Sow seeds for cool weather vegetables (late February to mid-March)
* Sow frost-tolerant perennials indoors.
* Divide and replant summer and fall blooming perennials(when soil is warm enough to be easy to work).
* Plant bare root and container roses, trees and fruiting vines.

Zone 7
* Sow seeds of warm-season annuals in starter pots.
* Set out summer flowering bulbs
* Plant fall blooming bulbs
* Plant balled-and-burlapped, container, and bare root fruit trees and fruiting vines.
* Apply dormant spray to fruit trees before buds swell.
* Spray apples, peaches, and pears that have been affected with canker problems.
* Plant seedlings of cool-weather vegetables(check your soil temperature).
* Sow seeds for frost tolerant perennials.
* Sow seeds for hardy perennials.
* Plant container, balled-and-burlappedand bare-root trees, shrubs, vines and roses.
* Plant summer blooming shrubs and vines.
* Plant frost tolerant trees.
* Plant conifers and broad-leaf evergreens.

Turn the compost pile, add any soiled hay, grass, bedding and manure mulch which was removed from livestock barns, shelters, rabbit hutches and poultry coops. Don’t have a compost pile! Now is a good time to start one.

Clean and disinfect livestock barns, sheds, rabbit hutches and poultry coops. Don’t forget to disinfect water and feed containers. Clean and disinfect nest boxes add new nesting materials to nest boxes. If necessary spray inside walls, floor, ceiling, nest boxes and roost to control mites.

Repair winter damaged fences and gates. Check barns, sheds, hutches and coops for winter damage, repair as necessary.

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Freezing Homegrown Tomato’s Is Easy

Freezing Raw Tomatoes (with or without their skins).

Frozen tomatoes are best used in cooked dishes such as soups, sauces and stews. Tomatoes become mushy when they’re thawed for use.

To quickly freeze raw tomatoes without blanching them first.Tomatoes may be frozen whole, sliced, chopped, or puréed.
Tomatoes should be seasoned just before serving not ate the time they are prepared for freezing. Freezing may strengthen or weaken seasonings flavors such as garlic, onion, and herbs.

Washing tomatoes, wet each tomato with water, rub its surface, rinse it with running water, and dry it with a paper towel. After washing, cut away the stem scar and surrounding area and discard it before slicing or chopping the tomato.

Washing tomatoes in a sink filled with water is not recommended since contaminated water can be absorbed through the fruit’s stem scar. The use of soap or detergent is not recommended for washing fruits and vegetables because they can absorb detergent residues.

Dry them well by blotting with a clean cloth or paper towels.

Freezing whole tomatoes with peels on: Wash and clean tomatoes as described above.
Cut away the stem scar. Place the tomatoes on cookie sheets and freeze.
Note Tomatos may be placed directly in bags and frozen. Limit the number of tomato’s in each bag to the number anticipated for 1 meal or dish.

Tomatoes do not need to be blanched before freezing. Once frozen, transfer the tomatoes from the cookie sheets into freezer bags or other containers. Seal tightly.
Using frozen tomatoes, remove them from the freezer a few at a time or all at once. To peel, just run a frozen tomato under warm/hot tap water in the kitchen sink. Its skin will slip off easily.

Freezing peeled tomatoes: If you prefer to freeze peeled tomatoes, you can wash the tomatoes and then dip them in boiling water for about 1 minute or until the skins split. Peel and then freeze as described above.

Source Freezing Raw Tomatoes (with or without their skins)

Source Freezing Tomatoes – National Center for Home Food Preservation

Approximate Yields for Canned or Frozen Fruits & Vegetables
Raw Products Measure & Weight Approximate Quart Jars or Containers Needed Approximate Pounds Needed for 1 Quart Jar or Container
Fruits
Apples 1 bushel (48 pounds) 16 to 20 2½ to 3
Apples (for sauce) 1 bushel (48 pounds) 15 to 18 2½ to 3½
Apricots 1 lug (24 pounds) 9 to 12 2 to 2½
Berries (except strawberries & cranberries) 24-quart crate (36 pounds) 12 to 18 1½ to 3 (1- to 2-quart boxes)
Cantaloupes 1 crate (60 pounds)   1 large melon
Cherries
(with stems)
1 bushel (56 pounds) 22 to 32 (unpitted) 2 to 2½
1 lug (box) (15 pounds) 6 to 7 (unpitted) 2 to 2½
Cranberries 1 bushel (100 pounds) 100 1
1 box (25 pounds) 25 1
Figs 1 box (6 pounds) 2 to 3 2 to 2½
Grapes 1 bushel (48 pounds) 10 to 12 4
Grapes, Western 1 lug (28 pounds) 7 to 8 4
Grapes, Eastern 12 – quart basket (18 pounds) 3 to 4 4
4 – quart basket (6 pounds) 1 4
Grapefruit
Florida, Texas &
California
1 bag or ½ box (40 pounds) 5 to 8 4 to 6 fruits
1 box (65 pounds) 8 to 13 4 to 6 fruits
Nectarines Flat (18 pounds) 6 to 9 2 to 3
Peaches 1 bushel (50 pounds) 19 to 25 2 to 2½
Pears 1 bushel (50 pounds) 20 to 25 2 to 2½
1 box (46 pounds) 19 to 23 2 to 2½
1 crate (22 pounds) 8 to 11 2 to 2½
Pineapple (with top) 1 crate (70 pounds) 20 to 28 2½  (2 average)
Plums 1 crate (70 puunds) 28 to 35 2 to 2½
1 bushel (56 pounds) 24 to 30 2 to 2½
Rhubarb 15 pounds 7 to 11 2
Strawberries 24-quart crate (36 pounds) 12 to 16 6 to 8 cups
1 crate (60 pounds) 17 to 23 2½ to 3½
1 lug (32 pounds) 9 to 12 2½ to 3½
Tomatoes (for juice) 1 bushel (53 pounds) 12 to 16 3 to 3½
1 crate (60 pounds) 17 to 20 3 to 3½
1 lug (32 pounds) 8 to 10 3 to 3½
Vegetables
Asparagus 1 bushel (24 pounds) 8 to 12 2 to 3
1 crate (30 pounds) 10 to 15 2 to 3
Beans, lima
(in pods)
1 bushel (30 pounds) 5 to 8 4 to 5
Beans, green or wax 1 bushel (30 pounds) 15 to 20 1½ to 2
Beets (without tops) 1 bushel (52 pounds) 17 to 20 2½ to 3
Broccoli 1 crate (25 pounds) 10 to 12 2 to 3
Brussels Sprouts 4 quarts 1 to 1½ 2
Cabbage 1 bag or 1 crate (50 pounds) 16 to 20> 2½ to 3
Cabbage, Western 1 crate (80 pounds) 26 to 32 2½ to 3
Carrots
(without tops)
1 bushel (50 pounds) 16 to 20 2½ to 3
Cauliflower 1½-bushel crate (37 pounds) 12 to 18 2 medium heads
Corn, Sweet
(in husks)
1 bushel (35 pounds) 8 to 9 (as kernels) 4 to 5
Cucumbers 1 bushel (48 pounds) 24 to 30 1½ to 2
Eggplant 1 bushel (33 pounds)> 15 to 18 2 average
Greens 1 bushel (18 pounds) 8 to 9 2 to 3
Okra 1 bushel (30 pounds) 19 to 21
Peas, Field 1 bushel (25 pounds) 6 to 7 3½ to 4

Peas, Green
(in pods)

1 bushel (30 pounds) 6 to 8 4 to 5
Peppers 1 bushel (25 pounds) 17 to 21 1¹⁄3
Potatoes, Irish 1 bushel (60 pounds) 18 to 22 2½ to 3
Pumpkin     1½ to 3
Spinach 1 bushel (20 pounds) 4 to 9 2 to 6
Squash (Summer) 1 bushel (40 pounds) 16 to 20 2 to 3
Squash (Winter)     3
Sweet Potatoes (cured) 1 bushel (50 pounds) 16 to 25 2 to 3

Country life is a good life.

Happy Fall gardening

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Happy Days – My Garden Weeds Are Getting Sick

grape vine 2015 In Southwest Oklahoma it mostly stopped raining May of 2008. I think our long running dry spell has been sent into the history books. So far this month my tiny garden has received more than 15 inches(380mm) of rain. Another storm pasted over head last evening dumping 3/4 of an inch in less than 30 minutes.

The garden seed people are loving the thunder storm. Every time I plant squash and cucumbers it comes a hard rain and washes my seed out of the ground. I’m getting a lot of experience in planting / replanting garden seed.

If I can get a full day of sunshine I will re-re-replant squash and cucumbers. Maybe it will dry out enough before the forecast weekend thunder storms arrive to replant my okra patch as well.
It may even get dry enough that I can hoe a few of my unwanted plants like johnson grass!

Grin … one good side benefit of all this May rain is it is killing many of the weeds that have taken up home in my garden plot. It seems that careless weeds(pig weed), bind weed(wild morning glory) and henbit do not like their roots setting in water or really wet soil. However, ragweed doesn’t seem to be effected by the wet soils.

Grape vine update, All three vines have leafed out and are sending out runners. At this rate I will need to get my trellis up this summer to start training my vines.

corn may 2015 Corn is setting ears, but, the rain keeps washing away my fertilizer applications faster than I can apply the fertilized. FYI – I’m using a NPK, 13-13-13 shotgun blast approach. Clay soil is generally low in nitrogen. That’s the reason for the 13 percent nitrogen content approach to amending garden fertility.

Tomato’s are not looking well. Roots have been setting in wet soil and they are beginning to really suffer.
Onions still in the ground have started to rot and I have decided to plant more pumpkins in the area now taken up by my failing onion crop.

As a side note. I have noticed the my hens and pullets have started growing web feet.

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Rain Water 100 % Better Than Tap Water

Two days of 50 and 60 degree weather and almost 2 inches of rain. Radishes seem to double in size and onions have shot up by at least 2 inches or more in the past 2 days. Grin … that’s a good thing. Tomato’s seedlings have stalled out and are waiting for warmer weather to resume growing.

With this nice rain, soil is wet enough that I will plant a short row of Detroit beets and another row of Turnips. I’m not a big fan of turnip roots but I do like young tender beet and turnip greens.

Today is a good day to empty, clean and refill my hummingbird feeders.

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Mud On My Feet Is Better Than Sand In My Eyes

Weather man must have been asleep at his computer terminal. We are getting a un-forecast rain. Since 2:15AM I have received 1.15 inches of rain. Well it’s not me most rain I have ever had, but, it’s the most I have had in a very long time.

I had to construct a new blade for my old horse drawn road grader(built around 1905). I finely have taken time to design the mounting brackets, welded the brackets to the back side of the blade and have it bolted to the blade table. That’s the part that allows me to rotate the blade left to right as well as tilt the blade.

I think all I still need to do is to build and mount a tongue so the road grader can be pulled behind a tractor or pick-up truck. A good paint job and it will make a Grin … an interesting yard ornament.
The horse drawn Lister re-build has been finished and it is still waiting a paint job. After they are painted I will post pictures of both.

In the garden, Sunday I pulled enough container grown Radishes and Green Onions to top off a nice dinner salad. Beets are still a bit to small to harvest.
I have 6 pots with grape tomato seedlings and 2 pots of better girl tomato’s about 3/4 inch tall. I will plant then in the garden after they have set their first ‘true’ leafs.

During the winter I constructed a 50 foot long drip watering line. Emitters are spaced about every 2 feet. This summers garden experiment I will plant tomato’s every 4 feet and plant cucumbers, yellow squash or zucchini between each tomato vine. I think mostly cucumbers and tomato’s.

In a week or so the soil temperature will be warm enough to direct garden plant my warm weather plants, cucumbers, squash and okra.

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Severe Weather Season – Arrived Today

Day one of our official severe weather season started today. Grin … true to form my WX guy said.

*Severe Weather Possible Today.
An active evening may be in store as a strong cold front heads for Texoma(Northwest Texas / Southwest Oklahoma). Expect increasing south winds today and a very warm afternoon with highs in the low 80s north to upper 80s south. Scattered severe storms may develop as early as 4-5 PM for northwestern Texoma and then form into a line this evening before exiting the area by 10-11 PM. Storms may contain large hail and damaging winds and there is a small chance of a (few) tornado’s. Wind gusts to 60 mph may be possible behind the front.

Grape Vine Planting Up-Date

Bare root vines planted 8 or 9 days ago. The 2 seedless concord vines are budding out. The red skin Flame vine is still plyable but has not yet set any buds.
Flame is out. Next time I will buy a different variety of seedless red skin grape to replace this non performing variety.

Corn Planting. There was enough seed in the package to plant six, 6 foot long rows. I have found that almost all vegetable crops benefit from being planted side by side in short rows over 1 or 2 long rows. Pollination is better in this arrangement.

I’m off to double check and secure anything that may me moved from my house to the south 40 by the forecasts high winds.

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